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Old 10-26-2012, 12:39 PM   #54
R.A. Robertson
Dojo: Still Point Aikido Center
Location: Austin, TX, USA
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 345
Re: It Has to be Felt #0

Carsten M÷llering wrote: View Post
But bud˘ does not teach talking? aikid˘ does not?
And there are excellent methods which can be used for talking. But none of them teaches how to deliver a punch to the throat. Wich aikid˘ does.
Why confusing those methods?
If aikido, or budo, does not on some level teach talking, negotiating, then it is an incomplete art. Bruce Lee spoke of the art of "fighting without fighting," and Sun Tsu and others spoke of how to avoid war, as well as how to engage it. As for aikido's tactical expressions, well, of course this is why I practice it instead of simply studying rhetoric. It's aikido's wonderful synthesis of physical self-defense and mental/emotional conditioning, and social and environmental awareness that excites me so much. That may qualify as confusion, but if so, I'll follow Neal Stephenson's lead -- much of aikido is about becoming "fused with," or "con-fused."

When I meet a different context of life (be it regional or historical) I find it very interesting to learn about the different perspective of this given context. Getting to know the strange (?correct word?), the different then helps to develop oneself and to understand oneself far better.
And: I think l real learning only works when one trancends ones own perspectiv. Ohterwise you only learns what you already knew.
Of course. I cannot disagree. But having learned, we eventually assimilate and synthesize the knowledge and experience. We come to take ownership, and from this derives true authority and expertise. Which is to say that we should never abdicate what becomes our own, through repeated encounters with the strange. Again, this has much to do with how we can be of service to others.

This dialogue between you and me is a perfect example. I do expect to become transformed by it, specifically because you invite me to engage with the "strange." If even in small ways, I become better for it, and if being better helps me serve others, then I am grateful to you.

Thist, I think, can only be said about certain abstractions you may get from doing aikid˘. I also thougth this when I startedt practicing. But the more I get into aikid˘, the more it becomes "Japanese". Because the more you get into details, the more you get into the context they come from. At least this is my experience.
Again, yes. But also, if you look deeply enough into the context of what it means to be Japanese (for example), I think you will find everything therein is fundamentally human.

It's just like practicing koryű. What "value" does this have?
This is what I tried to say above: The only value it has, is practicing it. That's it.
Why do you think practicing aikid˘ should save the world, but TSKSR or KSR or ... should not? The talking of peace or love or building society we know from Ueshiba, can be found - more or less - in a lot of other bud˘ aswell.
Sure is it's value limited! Why do you assume it shouldn't?
First, I don't choose to practice koryu. Or zen, for that matter. I can of course enjoy doing things for their own sakes, and I am not against hobbies or other pleasurable pastimes. I myself have much enjoyed rock climbing when I am fit enough for it, and I don't feel any great urge for it to pave the way to utopia. Although, on a good day, nothing seems more relevant or immediate...

I would turn the question around. Why shouldn't we save (or sustain, or repair, or improve) the world? Why shouldn't aikido be a vehicle for that, given that it was specifically retooled by Ueshiba from the ancient arts and reoriented toward this idea that "true budo is the loving protection of all things?" As for TSKSR or KSR and the rest, why shouldn't they also be tools for improving the quality of life?

But that's simply not important: I don't practice or teach to build a better society. That's just not the aim of my practice in the d˘j˘. So it doesn't matter at all.
Forgive me if you've said it before, but if so, can you restate what exactly is your purpose for your practice in the dojo? To "simply practice" is not an aim or purpose. Would you say that your practice has any purpose?

(I myself am a very political and socially engaged person: I did political work for much years. My job helps to build a better society. I just don't need to put these aims into aikid˘. I simply practice.)
I respectfully bow to you and the work that you do. I do trust it is good work. I wish you all success, and I thank you, even from this distance, for whatever you do that has enriched me and that which I care about.

Maybe your experience of your art is a simple relief, a kind of rest and distraction from the stresses of your other activities. Nothing wrong with that.

Individuals just coming together, working together and going back to their lives does not necessarily create any kind of community.
(Btw. since some time about 50% of my practic is solo practice.)
Sadly, what you say is true about community. But I think it takes a certain kind of sustained effort to come into regular contact with others and NOT care about them, NOT commune with them somehow.

Too, communities can be transitory, temporary, and still be rich and vital.

Well it is a very hierarchical relationship in the d˘j˘. It is clearly not a model for the society I want to live in. (I'm saying this albeit I'm the co-head of the hierarchy in our d˘j˘.)
A good dojo culture in my view is both hierarchical and heterarchical. And that would be closer to my view of a more ideal society. Life is both vertical and horizontal. There are good and bad heterarchies, just as there are good and bad hierarchies.

In a good hierarchy, we learn from and respect those whose knowledge and experience and capabilities surpass our own, and we often do well to benefit from their authority.

In a good heterarchy, there is the egalitarian spirit of collaboration, cooperation, and a willingness to explore, experiment, create, and discover.

These are not mutually exclusive. I have experienced instances of a right synthesis of the hierarchy and the heterarchy working together, in a dojo context. It is powerful and exciting, and yes, of course I would want more of that for the larger world that I live in.

This, I admit, I don't understand: I have practiced in a d˘j˘, where everybody was good friends. I've practiced in a d˘j˘ where nobody liked each other. I go to seminars, where people simply don't know each other. I know d˘j˘, which are not so hierarchical structured, like it is usual.
I clearly feel different in different scenarios. But whether I learn some aikid˘ or not, does clearly not depend on this feeling. I don't have to like the teacher or the other students to progress.
So I don't get your point here.
What is progress? Toward what are you progressing? When I understand this better, I might be better able to answer your question.

Secondly, liking or enjoying someone's company is incidental to caring for them, or being cared for by them. Or otherwise exchanging benefit. It helps, but it's not necessary. The central feature of community is caring for (taking care of) one another.

As I said: I would not like a world that is socially structured like a d˘j˘.
Perhaps you have an opportunity to restructure your dojo with an orientation toward your more ideal society? Not that we expect to reach our ideals in every way and at all times forever and always, but surely we can take steps to improve our situation?

For me, a dojo is a laboratory. It is a specifically designed environment conceived as a containment area for the safe experimentation and refinement of more optimal ways of being. When these are found, I believe they should be carried out of the dojo and into the world.

In which way do you think aikid˘ to be an "experiment" that could fail or succeed?
If aikid˘ is seen like a philosophy or religion or political party to have a certain message how to make the world a better place. And if the experiment would be develop our world or society, it only can fail.
Because aikid˘ - as I see it so far - simply is not designed for this. It simply does not give us the right methods for this.
Well... I have to admit this is very difficult to know how to respond to. What you say genuinely touches me with sadness.

I think if we study history, we come across many many instances of a religion or a philosophy or an ideology or a movement, all with grand designs to improve the human condition and make a better world. And what we see again and again is that messages of love and compassion turn to violence, power struggles, pogroms and genocides, and fundamentalist rigidity of thought and expression.

It would be tempting to conclude that all our best efforts lead only to ruin. Tempting, but facile. For if we simply look for it, we find also abundant evidence for the success of human kindness, both institutionalized and spontaneous. We face some unprecedented challenges in this century, but the clear trajectory overall is toward greater health, prosperity, opportunity, longevity, and freedom for all.

We are not there yet, and there are large and widespread pockets of resistance. The outcome is far from certain. I don't mind being at war with these backward forces.

Yet I feel what is needed is a new kind of warfare. A new kind of budo. Or perhaps, a return to the original purpose and meaning of budo, which is to serve and preserve and wage a campaign of well-being.

For myself, and for those whom I most would like to train with, we need a framework. Something that goes beyond what has been done before. Something disciplined, rigorous, and focused on finding a better way to creatively engage conflict and the problem of violence.

I do have a name for this. And while it is large enough to have a boundless set of expressions, it is still what it is, and there are things that are not it.

Are you and I doing different varieties of the same thing? Then we can agree on what is the same for us, and we can call it by the same name. If we are not, then there is nothing inherently wrong with what either of us are doing.

But then, should we call it the same thing?
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